9 Jun 2013

Whenuapai residents worried about proposed flight school

1:10 pm on 9 June 2013

The head of an Auckland local board says residents living near the Whenuapai airbase are extremely concerned about a proposal to create a helicopter training school there.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development chief executive Brett O'Riley said the agency and the air force have been approached by RFT, a company wanting to build a commercial pilot school at the base.

Upper Harbour Local Board chair Margaret Miles said she has been inundated with calls from residents, who are happy to have the air force at the base, but don't want extra activity there.

Mrs Miles said there could be huge disruption with as many as 100 training flights each day.

She expects to get more detail at a briefing on Tuesday.

The proposed school would train pilots and engineers from the search and rescue industry, emergency medical service, and the oil and gas industry.

Brian Whelan of RFT said the company is confident the proposal fits in with the current capabilities of the airbase.

He said no further details of the plan are available while a feasibility study is being completed.